Global Malaria Deaths Twice As High As Previously Estimated, IHME Study Suggests

“Malaria is killing more people worldwide than previously thought, but the number of deaths has fallen rapidly as efforts to combat the disease have ramped up, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington” published in the Lancet on Thursday, an IHME press release reports. “More than 1.2 million people died from malaria worldwide in 2010, nearly twice the number found in the most recent comprehensive study of the disease,” the press release states (2/2). The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “used new data and new computer modeling to build a historical database for malaria between 1980 and 2010,” BBC News notes (Bowdler, 2/2).

“IHME researchers say that deaths from malaria have been missed by previous studies because of the assumption that the disease mainly kills children under five,” the press release states, and notes that the researchers found “more than 78,000 children aged five to 14, and more than 445,000 people ages 15 and older died from malaria in 2010, meaning that 42 percent of all malaria deaths were in people aged five and older” (2/2). A Lancet editorial accompanies the study. “We believe urgent technical and policy analyses must be initiated by WHO … to review these new data and their implications for malaria control programs. This opportunity needs to be grasped with urgency and optimism,” the editorial states (2/4).

Additional coverage of the study is available from ABC News, BBC News, GlobalPost, the Globe and Mail, the Guardian, the Guardian’s “DataBlog,” KLPU 88.5’s “Humanosphere,” the Los Angeles Times’ “World Now,”  NPR’s “Shots,” and the Washington Post.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.